Writer, editor, stumbler after Jesus

Giant-killing caution

WORKING THROUGH a study on David and Goliath with some guys from church has caused me to look at the familiar story through fresh eyes. And, in doing so, find some further help in taking on the giants we all face.

First, there’s the reminder of that fine line between faith and presumption. Yes, God can help us overcome seemingly insurmountable odds, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is going to be easy.

When all the Israelite soldiers are ignoring Goliath’s challenge for a one-on-one bout, David is confident that he can take on the bully from Gath. Why? Because of how God has prepared him through fighting off bears and lions when he was watching over the sheep.

But note that he doesn’t pick up just one stone on his way out to fight. He gets five. David knows that God is with him, but he doesn’t assume that means it will necessarily work out instantly. He leaves room for human error or insufficiency.

In the same way, if God calls us to do something that seems risky, it’s not necessarily a lack of faith to have some contingency plans. That could be simple wisdom.

Then there’s the need for a measure of ruthlessness in taking down giants. David may have felled Goliath with his slingshot but—as the speaker in the video series we have been watching observed—snakes can still bite after they have been killed. You have to lop off their head to be certain.

David knew that he had to be emphatic in his defeat of Goliath. Everyone watching needed to see Goliath wasn’t just stunned, but gone for good. And what about us? I wonder if there aren’t times when we get a little overconfident.

When God steps in to break the power of the enemy over us in some way, we may make the mistake of treating the victory carelessly. But it’s not smart to hang around where you can get bitten again, or to leave people wondering if you have really dealt with things once and for all.

Photo by Lawrence OP on Foter.com/CC BY-NC-ND

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